Ryoji Ikeda is a composer, musician, and artist who creates large-scale installations and public artworks around the world that push the limits of digital technology. Marking his largest installation to date, the TRANSFINITE integrates these three distinct threads of Ikeda's work into one completely immersive and comprehensive experience.
Ikeda's installation work has been shown previously at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo (2009), the Victoria & Albert Museum in London (2009), Centre Pompidou in Paris (2010), and the French Institute Alliance Francaise in New York (2010).
As Japan's leading electronic composer, Ikeda's musical work focuses on the essential characteristics of sound itself, which he manipulates in live concerts, recordings, site-specific installations, and publications.
Since 1995 he has created sound art in concerts, installations, and recordings, including the albums +/- (1996), 0 degrees (1998) and Matrix (2000), which have been hailed by critics as the most radical and innovative examples of contemporary electronic music. Ikeda received the Golden Nica prize at Prix Ars Electronica 2001 in the Digital Music category.
New York, NY–May 19, 2011
Park Avenue Armory commissioned artist and electronic composer Ryoji Ikeda to create a large-scale digital installation and sonic landscape as their third annual visual arts commission. Within the Armory's immense 55,000-square-foot Wade Thompson Drill Hall, Ikeda created a transformative environment that subsumes visitors within abstract expressions of digital information and binary code.
Accompanied by a tightly synchronized musical composition, the two-part installation explores how data defines the world we live in and how it is a beautiful artistic material in its own right. On view from May 20 through June 11, 2011, the transfinite is Ikeda's most ambitious installation to date and marks the first time that American audiences are able to experience the work of this multidisciplinary artist on such a large and immersive scale.
"The TRANSFINITE promises to be a sublime experience, engaging the senses through the presentation of a rich, abstract tapestry of intertwined sound and image", stated Rebecca Robertson, President and Executive Producer of Park Avenue Armory. "The all-encompassing work immerses visitors in an environment filled with comprehensible information presented on a scale that defies comprehension. Taking advantage of the drill hall's expansive space, this piece builds on the tremendous success of our first two ground-breaking commissions by Ernesto Neto and Christian Boltanski." A meditation on the concept of infinity, the transfinite takes its name from the mathematical notion of transfinite numbers, which are larger than any finite numbers, yet quantitative and ordered.
The exhibition comprises two large-scale works, which transform a continuous stream of scientific data into digital sound and abstracted images to create two very different sensory experiences. Through Ikeda's orchestration of shifting binary code, binary color, data visualization, and digital sound, these contrasting works create a powerful audio-visual experience intended to ignite a physical response in the viewer."Ikeda's visual and sonic installation expresses the concept of transfinite numbers through a work of art rather than a traditional mathematical proof, confronting visitors with a physical manifestation of this complex and difficult to comprehend idea", stated Kristy Edmunds, Consulting Artistic Director at the Armory. "The installation encourages the viewer to rethink the way we understand scientific data by transforming it into an abstract visual and aural experience."
Upon entering the drill hall, visitors find themselves immersed in a pulsating projection of black and white strips, which race across the length of the floor and up a 45-foot-tall and 60-foot-wide screen that bisects the immense space. The movement of these barcode-like lines is keyed to a vibrant soundtrack and reflects a real-time binary analysis of the music notes. The result is an intense and highly synchronized experience and a dynamic introduction to the world at the level of binary code, a building block of modern science and mathematics.
In contrast to the light and activity in the first part of the installation, on the other side of the dividing wall Ikeda creates a more tranquil and contemplative sensory experience that offers a controlled visualization of vast amounts of data—drawn from the human genome sequence, the astronomical coordinates of the universe, and a range of other sources. Accompanied by a subdued soundtrack, this installation includes a large-scale projection of data on the dividing wall as well as nine screens, mounted on individual 28-inch high plinths, enabling visitors to interact with endlessly scrolling data on a more intimate level. Together, the two parts of the exhibition present data in a multitude of forms to create an immersive and mind-altering experience.